The current outlook for wildlife and ecosystems across the world is unfortunately quite a grim specter. The reality of the situation that we face is that the world has fallen prey to corporations and energy businesses that are looking to utilize the planet’s every resource in any way possible, even if it means destroying precious areas of the earth with potential harmful consequences. After all, these companies fail to acknowledge the big picture. The reality of the situation is that they see their bottom line, their dollar value, and they decide to put this ahead of the welfare of the planet. The consequence of this attitude has been massive deforestation, destroying ecosystems and reducing habits for millions of species. Not only this, but the consequences of their actions have terrible impacts for humans as well. The carbon rich forests of Indonesia cannot afford to slashed and burned; the action of doing this has caused these forests, once a powerful tool against greenhouse emissions, to become one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. With unprecedented levels of deforestation destroying the forests of Indonesia, Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve could not be a more important asset to our world. Indeed, their model and pathway towards taking better care of the ecosystem they are a part of is nothing short of revolutionary, although the model is quite straightforward. The reason why so many people get caught in the terrible cycle of participating in deforestation is because of their personal economic situation. Just as people who work in natural gas in the Appalachian mountains of the United States know that their work is poisoning them but face poverty without this income, so do the indigenous people of Indonesia understand that deforestation is devastating their home ecosystem. However, the economic drivers in these issues are strong, and if you are forced to choose between feeding your family or cutting down a tree, it is clear which option will be chosen.
This is truly what makes Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve such an important asset in Indonesia. They are instead providing economic alternatives to the devastation of the local ecosystem in Borneo. The reserve itself is massive and spans a space of land almost the size of Singapore. It is also currently the world’s largest REDD (reduced emissions from avoided deforestation and degradation) project. Their goals are straightforward. Rimba Raya seeks to end deforestation as well as promote the conservation of local wildlife while simultaneously providing economically viable solutions to deforestation. They are able to do so by selling carbon credits based on this carbon rich forest. Thanks to action steps like these, the reserve has been able to become a safe haven for over a thousand plant and animal species, as this is one of the most highly endangered ecosystems on the planet. They have been especially important in protecting the Bornean Orangutan which has suffered a 95% population lost over the last one hundred years. Thanks to Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve, positive changes are being made in the fight against deforestation in Indonesia!